(BN) Crude Oil Rises to Two-Year High as Consumer


Crude Oil Rises to Two-Year High as Consumer Confidence Climbs
2010-12-23 16:48:05.520 GMT

By Mark Shenk
Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose to the highest level
in more than two years as confidence among U.S. consumers
advanced to a six-month high, signaling that fuel demand will
increase in the biggest oil-consuming country.
Oil jumped as much as 0.9 percent after the Thomson
Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment
for December climbed to 74.5 from 71.6 in November. First-time
filings for jobless benefits declined by 3,000 to 420,000 in the
week ended Dec. 18, Labor Department figures showed.
"Today's data supports the economy and is boosting the oil
market," said Peter Beutel, president of Cameron Hanover Inc.,
a trading-advisory company in New Canaan, Connecticut. "All
week we've wanted to move higher, either because of the rising
stock market or the improving economic outlook."
Crude oil for February delivery advanced 62 cents, or 0.7
percent, to $91.10 a barrel at 11:26 a.m. on the New York
Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $91.32, the highest level
since Oct. 7, 2008. Prices are up 15 percent this year. Floor
trading will end at 1:30 p.m. today, an hour earlier than usual.
Brent crude oil for February settlement increased 47 cents,
or 0.5 percent, to $94.12 a barrel on the London-based ICE
Futures Europe exchange.
Spending by consumers increased in November for a fifth
month, The Commerce Department said today. Household purchases
rose 0.4 percent after a 0.7 percent increase in October that
was almost twice as large as previously estimated. Incomes
climbed 0.3 percent.
Stocks were little changed. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
fell 0.1 to 1,257.16 at 11:03 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones
Industrial Average rose 0.1 percent to 11,571.83.

Oil Supplies

U.S. crude oil inventories fell 5.33 million barrels to
340.7 million in the week ended Dec. 17, the lowest level since
February, the Energy Department reported yesterday.
"Weather in the U.S. and Europe is supportive, and we had
another big inventory drop," said Tobias Merath, head of
commodities at Credit Suisse Group in Zurich. "But these are
mostly temporary factors, and when these fade I see a risk we'll
move to the mid-$80s at the beginning of next year."

For Related News and Information:
Top energy, oil stories: ETOP <GO> and OTOP <GO>
News on oil inventories: TNI OIL INV <GO>
News on oil markets: NI OILMARKET <GO>
Global energy statistics: ENST <GO>

--With assistance from Grant Smith in London. Editors: Joe Link,
Dan Stets

To contact the reporter on this story:
Mark Shenk in New York at +1-212-617-4331 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Dan Stets at +1-212-617-4403 or